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Meet the (baker's?) dozen.

The Democratic field for Governor is looking a lot like a typical Wisconsin high school class, replete
with a couple of cool kids, a couple smart ones and a couple caught sniffing glue in the lavatory. Much still depends on whether Madison mayor Paul Soglin, who has promised to announce a decision in early 2018, gets into the game. (The other dozen below have already committed.) If Soglin does, we’ll be seeing a whole lot of Democratic moustache this year.

Who?Selling PointTypical QuoteUnfortunate Fact
MICHELE DOOLANMichelle Doonan
Salon owner and PTO president from Madison
She’s a “regular person” running for office while video-blogging the whole way.“I barely recognize my government from the one I learned about in school.”The field is flooded with regular Jane or Joe candidates this year.
TONY EVERSTony Evers
State schools superintendent
Education. This is the guy who announced his campaign from a children’s playground.“Trump and Walker are not a symptom of our divisions. They are a cause.”An early ad managed to quote Donald Trump (from a speech bashing Walker in the presidential primary) as an expert on Wisconsin.
MATT FLYNNMatt Flynn
Lawyer and former state Democratic Party chairman
He’s one of the older candidates and packs some Ted Kennedy-esque gravitas, not entirely attributable to his hair.“I can’t stand by and watch our democracy destroyed.”Flynn has lost four campaigns since first running for Congress in 1978.
ANDY GRONIKAndy Gronik
Milwaukee entrepreneur and consultant
His life story is a near-perfect blending of old-fashioned hard work and modern business acumen.“I am not a politician. I’m a business leader.”Nasty legal fights over a business and a mold-infested house could overshadow his campaign.
BOB HARLOWBob Harlow
26-year-old Stanford physics grad
A very specific eight-point plan for the state focused on health care and the economy.“I will bring 1 gigabit internet to every household in Wisconsin through a public utility.”He has a lot of ideas but hasn’t yet learned how to slow down and explain them.
BRETT HULSEYBrett Hulsey
Environmental consultant and business owner
Hulsey is known for pulling stunts such as comandeering Walker’s podium after a news conference.“I get up, and I fight for my constituents every day, with my maximum. I give 110 percent.”His antics can be questionable, including a 2012 incident that involved flipping a 9-year-old boy off an inner tube.
KURT KOBERKurt Kober
Retail Strategy Director, Clorox Company
Drawing on corporate experience, Kober promises to further modernize the state’s economy.“I am looking to lean into what the future looks like.”The more newcomers run, the more being one stands out as a liability.
MIKE MCCABEMike McCabe
Former head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Whether you consider him preachy or not, McCabe has spent decades advocating for better government.“It is so poisonous to succumb to the temptation to respond to personal attacks with personal attacks.”The wonky activist has awkwardly styled himself as the denim-wearing “blue jeans governor.”
MAHLON MITCHELL
Mahlon Mitchell
President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin
Mitchell is young and combative with a dash of star power.“Wisconsin was Walker’s Plan B.”This is the first time he’s run for something since losing lieutenant governor in 2012.
JEFF RUMBAUGHJeff Rumbaugh
Disability advocate living in Madison
Rumbaugh is softspoken but knows the state’s health care system well.“It’s time for a caring and compassionate leader who can represent all of Wisconsin.”Rumbaugh’s gentler touch will make it difficult to stand out in a crowded field.
PAUL SOGLINPaul Soglin (Mr. Undecided)
Long time Madison mayor
Imagine Bernie Sanders but far crustier.“The U.S. economy is rigged against the average person.”He’s a bushy-haired icon in Madison but not so well-known elsewhere.
KATHLEEN VINEHOUTKathleen Vinehout
Professor turned dairy farmer turned state senator
She claims to know how to fix health care in the state and balance out school funding.“I believe if you don’t like an idea, it’s your job to come up with another idea.”But she may be getting ahead of herself, having already promised free tuition at state technical and two-year colleges.
DANA WACHSDana Wachs
Trial lawyer and state representative
Like Vinehout, he’s a plainspoken force from up north.“Special interest groups come into [the capitol] with baskets full of money.”A leaked campaign memo pooh-poohed the electoral chances of “Madison liberals” and “Milwaukee elitists.”
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‘Stampede!’ appears in the January 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning January 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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